Go to a local gun store and handle as many different firearms that you can and don't overlook revolvers. Find a gun that fits your hand (or several) and research it as much as possible before buying. Most manufacturers produce a decent weapon, some of course better than others, but you don't always get what you pay for. Even the great ones allow a lemon to get through once in a while. If the gun you like to handle is more expensive than your budget, consider looking for a used one. If you have access to a range that allows you to rent guns to shoot that will give you a better perspective.